Lactose Intolerance

What is Lactose Intolerance

Skin Health Hub Food Allergies LactoseOften lactose intolerance is confused with having an allergy to milk. The two are very different as they relate to different systems of the body.

Lactose intolerance is related to the intestinal tract. The intestines don’t have the necessary enzymes to process the lactose sugar in milk. This results in symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea, and even vomiting.

In the case of a milk allergy, your immune system is affected. Your body recognizes the proteins of milk as foreign invaders and you develop antibodies to milk. Then, each time you take milk in your body releases histamines that cause symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, and a stomach ache. You might also experience wheezing, hives, a runny nose, and water eyes.

The way you treat these two conditions also varies. If you have lactose intolerance you can often find dairy products that include enzymes to help you process the milk. Check the statement on the packaging of the product to indicate this is present.

However, if you have a milk allergy you should eliminate all milk and dairy products from your diet. The exception to this may be that some hard cheeses can be tolerated, but you are best to check with your dietitian or food allergist before including in your diet.

The good news is that there are many alternatives to consider. For example, you can try rice milk, soy milk, and almond milk, soy cheese, soy yogurt and tofu as substitutes.

Life without dairy doesn’t mean that you have to give up on all the foods that you enjoy just think how much better you will feel once you give up dairy products if you have a milk allergy or lactose intolerance and you are symptom free.

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